I hadn’t seen Heather, mano-a-mano, in a while, so I invited her over to my place for a no-boys-allowed dinner. But oops, I needed to do some laundry, and oops, she has a washing machine at her house… So I ended up bringing my ingredients over there and we teamed up to make an amazing weeknight dinner.
I’ve been on a pasta kick this week (rice or quinoa pastas are inexpensive and hearty gluten-free options) and this basic cream sauce is simple, easy, and delicious. You can jazz up the sauce with any appealing combination of fresh herbs; we raided Heather’s new herb garden for this meal. Just make sure to salt and pepper your sauce enough. Ahem.
For this dish, I used bacon, shallots, basil, and peas to complement the seared scallops. (Look for Heather’s tips on cooking scallops here.) I also used gluten-free rice spaghetti, which is best served al dente and eaten immediately—or it will meld together in one dense clump.
And as if we weren’t already Romy-and-Michelle enough, Heather and I had the same idea with the leftovers: to mix in a soft-boiled or poached egg and some more bacon for a carbonara-like treat.
Speaking of which, I wish I had a bowl of it right now.
Seared Scallops with Pasta and Bacon-Basil Cream Sauce (Gluten-Free)
- 1 1/3 packages spaghetti (gluten-free, if you like)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
Bring a deep pot of water to a rolling boil. Add olive oil and salt. Cook as directed on packaging. Drain, mix in frozen peas, then set aside, covered.
For scallops and sauce:
- 12 oz. scallops, rinsed and patted dry
- 4 pieces of bacon, cut into pieces
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup basil, chopped
- 1 ½ cups petite frozen peas
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup (8 oz.) heavy cream
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated fine
- olive oil if needed
- salt and pepper
Cook bacon at low heat until crisped through and browned, then set on paper towels to drain. Pour off extra fat, and cook shallots in bacon fat until browned. Set aside, add some oil to the pan if needed, and set the heat to high. Make sure the scallops are room temperature, and very dry. Salt and pepper them. When the pan is hot, place a layer of scallops in the pan. Don’t move the scallops around, but let them cook exactly where they are until the bottoms are browned. Flip once only, and repeat. (Heather taught me that tip.)
When scallops are done, remove them from pan and set them aside. Then immediately pour in the white wine to de-glaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the pan and stirring them into the wine. Add the cream, bring to a simmer, and let reduce for a few minutes. Stir in basil, bacon, shallots, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over pasta, toss, and serve with scallops on top.